It wasn’t his best day. Not even close.
After a very long obedience in the right direction, he let down his guard, had a bit too much to drink and wound up in a highly compromising situation.
Had he been able to stay awake, he would have been embarrassed and humiliated. But he was in such a bad state he didn’t know how bad a state he was in.
Too far gone. Cluebag empty.
How does it happen to such a good man?
He had been at his best for so long. A man who walked in radical faithfulness and was rewarded with ridiculous favor.
Now this great man lay on the floor in a drunken stupor. Naked. Exposed. His own son was both shamed by and ashamed of his Dad’s state of affairs. So disgusted his immediate course of action was to expose and embarrass. (Genesis 9:22)
As King David would say and experience generations later, “…the mighty had fallen.”
But there were two other sons. They had the courage and clarity to see things differently. They knew this was not who their dad really was. They were determined to help him make it back to the place from which he had fallen.
So they grabbed someone’s mantle cloak and turned it into a blanket. With backs turned to his folly, and faces hid from his failure, they backed into the room and covered the old man. This blanket not only shaded his nakedness but it drove away the chill that always comes in the winter of failure. (Genesis 9:23)
A warm blanket–covering his shame; shielding his heart.
Noah could never forget that kind of love. (Genesis 9:26-28)
No one can.
Too often though, it seems that when a gifted man falls or a public person fails its high tide in the ocean of accusation. I am not sure why, but too many get a perverse sort of pleasure in kicking broken people while they’re down.
Enter Ashley Madison…an online breach of security where someone thought it good fun to expose people toying with a breach of fidelity. Tragically, far too many men and women whose names should never have been there were on the list.
Don’t get me wrong. There is no excuse for it.
There is no legitimate reason for doing illegitimate things.
Marriages compromised, families devastated, reputations ruined, churches wounded and leaders disgraced. These are the unavoidable consequences of wrong choices.
Adulterated intentions. Unadulterated stupidity.
The fall out was devastating. A spiritual Fukushima. I get that. The high cost of low living.
Yet with that said, I’ve been wondering–where are the blanket people?
Those men and women so personally and dramatically impacted by grace, who in the spirit of humility Paul spoke of, restore these broken leaders gently. Where are the ones willing to back into the disaster zones with mercy coverings to spread over the wounded and dying?
What an example to a broken world to see the Army of God gathering up the wounded in a triage of grace that never leaves one of its own behind.
Sadly, the harsh reactions of self-righteousness from so many has led to different results. Shamed and desperate men chose suicide because it seemed the best way to pay for their failure.
It made me wonder…
Since when is the fate of Judas the betrayer preferable to the forgiveness of Peter the denier?
Many never make it back from the depths of despair experienced when they betray themselves, solely because there are no“blanket people” in their world.
We need more people who understand what Peter wrote in his deeply personal words: “Above all love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
- Not covers up, as in excusing.
- But covers over, as in forgiving.
Love doesn’t just cover UP what is hidden. It is covers OVER what has been exposed.
Peter never forgot the look in Jesus’ eyes when at the point of his greatest failure love ran recklessly to his rescue. That’s the kind of love that covers.
“Love each other deeply.” Intentionally. Sacrificially. The word deeply literally means “to spread or stretch over”— like a blanket.
Because love covers. It hides, veils, conceals.
By blanketing the broken in the Blood.
Gentle covering is a work of God because it is a work of grace. Harsh exposure is the work of men whose aim is to look better by making others look worse.
“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12)
When secret failures are needlessly revealed, the nastiness of self-righteous people gets put on display. But when we love to the extent that mercy stretches over failure and grace covers sin, we steal from THE THIEF the glory he is trying to steal from THE LORD.
Secret sins revealed in the security of grace relationships can be dealt with in ways that bring healing. Exposure like this is a gift from God because it brings hidden things to light and robs them of their power.
Here’s the deal. When love covers, it also calls.
It calls to the heart of a person who should have known better and done more. It calls that person back to what he was meant to be.
- It calls the failure to try again.
- It calls the sinner to trust in grace.
- It calls the wounded to hope for healing.
“He who covers over an offense promotes love…” (Proverbs 17:9)
Love that has the ability to rewrite the last chapter of every biography.
The end of our story is written in Blood. That is why Jesus died.
And it is why we live! At every dark corner where people are at their worst, we have the chance and choice to be that kind of love.
It’s a blanket proposal.